If you take your fitness seriously and/or enjoy running, then you probably spend a decent amount on your running shoes. Even if you don’t, the point I’m going to make is that with a little extra TLC you can make your shoes last a lot longer – which we can both agree is a good thing.
It’s all too easy to neglect looking after running shoes, I know I’ve been guilty of it in the past. The first thing I want to do after a long run is to leave my shoes at the door and rest, relax, put my feet up, sound familiar?
Well, a friend of mine gave me a pep talk a while back after seeing the state of my shoes and hearing me moan about them falling apart and being uncomfortable. The result has been a new found love for each pair of shoes I’ve owned since.
I’ve given them more love, and in return, they have given me more miles of comfort. That means fewer blisters, rubbing, aches and pains, and so on. So, it should be a no-brainer when it comes to looking after our shoes.
With all of that in mind, here are a few steps to follow if you want to start better looking after your shoes and extending their life expectancy:
Storing Your Shoes Properly
After a long run, the last thing you are probably thinking about is storing your shoes somewhere dry and out of harm’s way. You’re exhausted and are probably thinking you will do it later (or maybe you’re not).
Either way, later often means other shoes get thrown on top of them, people walk on them, they aren’t being aired out properly, etc.
You need a dedicated well-ventilated place to keep your shoes that’s safe from other items being placed on top of them. No matter how tired you are, place your shoes away safely after a run. Think of it this way, how many other items do you own that are as expensive as your shoes and used as often? How do you treat those items?
Dealing with Bad Odors
Possibly the number one complaint about shoes is that they start to smell. It’s not much of a surprise, they have sweaty feet inside them, pound dirty floors and get dirt, water, and other debris hitting the outside of them.
Spraying deodorizer inside after every use is only going to mask the smell for so long. Here are a few things I recommend if you’re trying to combat bad smells:
- Store your shoes somewhere well ventilated (doubles up with the positive in point one above).
- Remove the insoles and air them separately if they come out.
- Consider wearing thin socks if you currently run with bare feet, socks soak up a lot of sweat that will otherwise be soaking into your shoes.
- Use antibacterial deodorizing sprays on a regular basis.
Caring for your shoes in this way and keeping smells at bay are going to increase the life of your shoes. Not to mention having fresh smelling shoes is going to make everyone happy!
Cleaning off Mud and Dirt
You should always clean off mud and dirt after every run. Leaving mud to harden is going to cause damage to the fabric of your shoes, plus it can diminish how they (and you) perform.
Good quality running shoes have a lot of breathable meshing to help keep your feet cool, this is where dirt will often get caught and when it clogs up the mesh it causes your feet to overheat.
I know what you’re thinking – but throwing your shoes in the washing machine is not the best idea.
First of all, use an old toothbrush or a similar soft bristle brush to gently brush off all the surface dirt when it’s dry. Then use some warm water and even a little grease removing soap if you’re dealing with some stubborn mud to remove the rest.
Let your shoes air out naturally after and don’t wear them again until they are completely dry.
Drying Your Shoes Safely
All these points lead on nicely to covering how you should be drying your shoes after a run or giving them a clean.
The golden rule here is to never use artificial heat. Placing your shoes on a radiator, or blow drying them (yes, some people do this) can cause the seams to loosen, the fabric stretch or lose its elasticity, and a whole host of other problems.
To dry soggy shoes after a run in wet conditions follow this simple three step process:
- Remove the insole and laces.
- Pull the tongue forward and open up the shoe as wide as possible.
- Place your shoes in a dry, warm place, and a gentle breeze is a bonus.
If it’s going to take a long time to dry them out due to a combination of cold conditions and extremely soggy shoes, then it’s fine to soak up some of the moisture with kitchen roll or an absorbent cloth of some kind.
Just don’t wipe then hard, ring any part of them out, press, or handle your shoes in any way to try and force the moisture out. Allow your shoes to dry naturally and they will be just fine.
Remember, the key takeaway is that if you take the best possible care of your shoes they will take good care of you and your feet.
You can expect to get several hundred miles out of a good pair of running shoes. You also minimize the risk of injury by keeping your shoes in good condition, as well as improving your best performance on the road.
So if you’re one of the many people that are guilty of neglecting your shoes, it’s ok, you can keep the secret between the two of us. It’s never too late to start giving your shoes a little more TLC!